An early Wallace header helped Lazio to a comfortable 3-1 win over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome on Thursday, and put them in the driving seat to secure progression from Group H.
The Brazilian made the most of sloppy goalkeeping to nod the Italians into a lead that they never looked like losing, before Felipe Caicedo broke through in the second half to drive home and seal a routine victory.
Despite a precise Dimitri Payet freekick offering Marseille a glimmer of hope late on, that was quickly extinguished by a magnificent Adam Marusic effort, with the substitute cutting in and smashing into the top corner.
After some exciting opening exchanges, Lazio broke the deadlock courtesy of a Steve Mandanda error with only 10 minutes on the clock.
Senad Lulic’s low cross was headed behind by Hiroki Sakai and from the resulting corner, the Marseille goalkeeper rushed out and failed to get a hand to the ball, allowing Wallace to net with a simple close range header.
The early goal appeared to give Lazio a confidence boost and Ciro Immobile came within a lick of paint from doubling the lead after a sumptuous move.
A quick throw-in saw the Italian striker slip Caicedo in before collecting the Ecuadorian’s backheel and striking the post with a side-footed effort inside the box.
Indeed, it was Immobile who came closest once more to netting before the break, latching onto Wallace’s pass and hitting a smart effort on the turn to force a good Mandanda save.
Following the restart, Lazio continued on the front foot as Caicedo played in Lulic on the edge of the box, but Mandanda showed quick reactions to smother the ball before the Biancoceleste captain could pull the trigger.
Against the run of play, Marseille missed a glorious opportunity to pull level. Luiz Gustavo played a one-two with Sanson and drove into the box, before dragging his low shot wide with Kostas Mitroglou waiting to tap in.
The French outfit were left ruing their miss as Lazio sealed the victory on the hour mark. A rapid counterattack culminated in Immobile threading through strike partner Caicedo, who made no mistake with a first time finish to find the bottom corner.
Marseille were struggling to carve out any real openings and could not build any momentum, but were offered a glimmer of hope with five minutes remaining.
Marco Parolo caught substitute Valere Germain with a poor tackle on the edge of the box and was duly punished by a sensational Payet freekick. The France international bent a wonderful strike beyond Thomas Strakosha and give his side a late lifeline.
Payet was outdone moments later at the other end, as Marusic found himself in acres of space near the Marseille box, before cutting on his left foot to rifle into the top corner and round off an impressive win.